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At long last, I bring you the tales of our adventures in babysitting. Yes, I found a way to say 'adventures in babysitting' in my blog. Anyway, as many of you know, gene and I got a chance to keep our niece, Cecilia, on an overnight adventure last week. It's not like we've never babysat a child before, but never ever ever have we kept one overnight. What horrors would await us??

It turns out that Cecilia is a fun and fairly relaxed 18 month old. Nary a tantrum was thrown and, except for a 1:00 am crying session (not really her fault, she was scared), she was absolutely delightful. We played games, watched Little Einsteins, and even traveled to Hanford's newest park. It's not your ordinary neighborhood park. THIS park has one of those built-in water fountains that kids can run through as the water shoots out of little holes in ground. It was great! Gene put together a little montage for us, which I think turned out very nice...

If that weren't enough for you, let me just tell you about one last thing. My proudest moment came when Cecilia wandered into our bedroom. She looked around at the various stuffed animals in and around her playpen, surveyed the room, and decided upon the one item she wanted to play with - a real, live soccer ball. That's right folks - my niece chose a soccer ball above the regular toys. And on top of that, she already has a blow-up beach ball painted like a soccer ball, which is one of her favorites. I couldn't resist documenting such an important discovery in her life:

It was a great success all around. But don't look for any little Pensieros running around any sooner than before...all in good time. We have big plans to catch up on our sleep first. Check out geno's blog for other great clips from our adventures! (His blog is currently uploading to a new server, so if it's down, check back periodically.)

in limbo


Well, I know I promised a post about our recent pretend-parenting (as I like to call it), but alas, it is still yet to come. It turns out that our video footage needs a little more attention prior to posting it than I thought. But it will be here soon! Keep on the lookout.

In an effort to leave you with some sort of visual aid (I am usually quite partial to a visual blog more than I am to a non-visual), I leave you with a few pictures and the classic question: would you rather...?


(fried calamari with...i don't know what else)

or this?
(mmm, seaweed. beachy!)

Sneak Preview


After a little less than 24 hours, geno and I are a few hours away from giving up our sweet Cecilia to her adoring grandparents. There are stories innumerable to tell, but for now I leave you with the sneak preview picture below. All I can tell you is that an adventure was had at the park, and there was water involved...



Just a quick update to let all you faithful blog readers know that geno and I MAY be on the verge of doing something we've never done before...

...we MAY or may not be keeping our little niece, cecilia, OVERNIGHT! Yes, that's right, a whole night. Like real, grown-up people. Grown-up people who are pretend parents for one night. Unfortunately (for everyone who wants us to have children) this may only set back the date on which we decide to have our own little rugrats. How tiring is parenting?! One bath with the little sweetie and I'm wiped out! But we're excited about the prospect of having her anyway. We LOVE our baby cecilia! And at the least, it will be a great opportunity to gather some of the best blogging material we've had in a while. So keep watching...

Lovely Ladies


After a recent turn of events (namely the sweet emails from some dear friends), I have decided to do a little post on the life and times of Kelly in England. A tribute, if you will. Sure, the information I write here might come out sounding scattered and incomplete, but it was a lovely time in my life and I thought we would all enjoy a trip back in time to get to know the lovely ladies that became my friends in Cheltenham, England!

First things first, I should tell you that none of these lassies are British. That might be disappointing for you, but I just didn't connect with any Brits while I was over there. The ones on my dorm floor were awfully rude (which in no way reflects the attitude of all English college students), and therefore I found myself being buddies with the Americans. Strength in numbers and all that. Ha. Second of all, for those of you who don't already know, I spent a semester abroad in the Spring of 2003. I studied at the University of Gloucestershire in the adorable town of Cheltenham. Cheltenham is a town in the Cotswolds of England, about 2 hours northwest of London, with a population of roughly 100,00 people. (If you click no other links, be sure to click on the 'cotswolds' link to see about one of the most charming areas of England.) I studied a little and traveled a lot, and still passed all my classes. And that's all the background information I have for you today. So let's begin our journey...

For starters, here's the lot of us at Stonehenge on a cold winter's day:
At the very bottom, with a cute squinting eye, we have Megan. Above her we have Libby on the left and Shauna on the right. And at back from left to right we have Amy, me, and Corin. Now for some close-ups, in no particular order:

Here we have miss Libby.
Libby lives in Indiana where she resides with her husband Greg. We got to meet him when he came out to visit, and he was a lovely fellow. In fact, I believe those flowers were a gift from him! How nice! Libby was a runner and would always accompany me on a run, even on a whim. We also had a special connection because we both had a proper adoration for american peanut butter. (For those of you who are unaware, English peanut butter is so detestable that it should not even be fed to wild hogs.) She shared her Peter Pan with me and the rest is history. Thanks, Lib!

Next we have Megan.
Megan is from the great state of Pennsylvania, where she works for Hershey foods. (To us Californians, that's so fun!) She and I lived right next door to each other in the dorms. I remember being on the phone with my mom the very first night we were in England, and all of a sudden a note was slipped under my door. This lovely gal wanted to say hello and that she hoped we would become friends. And nothing short of friends will we ever be! Thanks for your kindness, Meg! LOVE those red phone booths.

The lovely Shauna (she's the one on the left):
Shauna resides in Tennessee and is originally from Massachusetts, though no single state could ever contain her. She is a traveler at heart, a 'world resident' in my opinion. I remember having long talks with Shauna, over some jacket potatoes and heinz beans, about life and love and our Lord. I cherished her zest for life while we were in England and currently love reading about her adventures in residence directing and graduate education on her blog. Keep on blogging, Shauna!

Now for the fantastic Amy (far left):
Amy is also from Pennsylvania, and we're all jealous that she and Megan get to see each other periodically. I always loved hearing stories about Amy's nephews back in Pennsylvania, and she was always up for a stir-fry meal and a chat in the campus refectory. She is a thoughtful girl who never forgets a birthday, and she's currently working on her Master's in social work. Here's to Amy!

Last but not least is wonderful Corin:
Corin lives in Idaho with her hubby Emmet. Corin welcomed us into her dorm room every Thursday night for a dvd episode of Friends on her laptop. A little taste of home every week! And we ALWAYS clapped along with the intro. An interesting fact - Corin brought a pocket atlas with her to England, because she always wanted to know where places were. I thought this was so great! I had the privelege of attending her wedding in September '05, and she was a beautiful bride. Yay Corin!

-So here's a big SHOUT OUT to all of you ladies! I loved catching up with you recently!-

None of these brief explanations do them justice, but these lovely ladies were life-savers. I adore them all and love keeping in touch via email every few months. We recently decided that we should have some sort of reunion, but we have yet to decide when and where. So that leaves it up to you, reader - give us your best suggestions!

I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane, as it were. I sure did! I leave you with a picture of Venus and I at the Louvre in Paris, France. Don't worry, although it is the real Venus de Milo, I edited the photo so that it would be appropriate for readers of all ages. Enjoy!



...what to blog about... It's a hard decision. Would it be the horrible night of sleep I had, thanks to the ever-restless dog, Momo? Probably not, because then I'd feel bad for talking about her that way. Would it be the new Bare Escentuals I recently received from my mother-in-law? Maybe, but it might only fuel my fire to buy more and more! Would it be a commentary on Katie's informative and disturbing post on fast food? Perhaps another day.

Today, I'll just share a little clip with you. Cecilia and I recently learned a really fun game where she sits on my foot and I bounce her up and down with my leg. It's extra fun for her, extra tiring for me. But every time, she backs away from my foot, then parks on it for another ride. We LOVE it and she squeals with delight every time! What could be better?

(7) Wonder(s) of Wonders


Remember a while ago when I posted about the New 7 Wonders campaign? In case you never read that post, there was a campaign to designate seven new 'wonders of the world' to replace the all but destroyed old seven wonders. And everyone in the world was allowed to vote online, via telephone, etc. Well, the results are in and the new wonders have been named! Here they are, in no particular order:

The Taj Mahal, India

The Roman Colloseum, Italy

Petra, Jordan

Macchu Picchu

The Great Wall, China

Christ Redeemer, Brazil

Chichen Itza, Mexico

I should also mention that the only remaining wonder of the old seven wonders is the Pyramids in Giza, Egypt, and that particular wonder is still very much alive and kicking (figuratively speaking, of course). So it counts in this list as well.

Now, the thing I was excited about was that some of my own personal picks won! I voted for The Colloseum, The Great Wall, The Taj Mahal, and Petra. 4 out of 7 isn't bad! And even though I didn't vote for Macchu Picchu, I have visited Peru and felt a special connection there. So I didn't mind. Also I thought it was nice that the gigantic Jesus statue made it in the mix...I wonder what Jesus thinks about that. Hopefully He doesn't mind. I suspect He's very gracious about the whole matter.

Amid all my excitement and wonder (if I may use that word again) about this little contest, I was completely oblivious to the fact that some people weren't happy about it at all. SOME people have been naysaying! Read this and find out who they are and what they think. To those people I say, in as nice a way as I can, get a life. Can't we just have a little fun? I know I did.

Be sure to check back soon, as I'm going to be posting on a new campaign for the Natural 7 Wonders of the world (these were all man-made, as you can see). Until then, I leave you with a picture of yours truly at one of the recently named NEW SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD:

How monumental!

"La Decorateur Calls..." (Sleepless in Seattle)


Now, although I don't consider my self a decorateur, per se, I DO occasionally enjoy doing things with a decorative flair. This most recently took the form of making curtains for our new apartment. We both felt that the apartment was a little bare like this:

(Living Room)


Soooo, I decided to ask my dear mother if she would help me create some window coverings that would be worthy of Windgate Apartments. She agreed! My mother is quite the seamstress, in case you were unaware. Her works include more than one of my prom dresses, alterations to my wedding dress, all the clothes she wore in high school in the 70's, and countless quilts, to name a few. I knew she would be the perfect person for the job. After geno and I picked out fabric together, I took it to Visalia and the magic began. After a whole day of sewing, then later purchasing curtain rods, and THEN installing grommets with geno last Saturday, VOILA!

(Geno, hard at work)

(Grommet time)

(Living Room)



(Finished again!)

I apologize for the quality of some of the pictures, it was hard to get a well-lit shot with the bright sun coming through the living room window. But there they are! I was pretty excited to get them done, and gene and I feel even more at home in our new place. I never knew how much some curtains could dress up the place. Kudos to my mom for all her help, and huzzah to gene for being crafty with me, installing the curtain rods and grommeting. What do you think?